Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Sharman. 1975)

“Hi, my name is Brad Majors (asshole!), and this is my fiancée, Janet Weiss (slut!).”

One interesting aspect of the 1077 Films to See Before You Die is the variety. This list features a wide range of films that represent every genre, including 1970’s trash. If you know me, you know that I am a big fan of the trashy films of the disco-decade. For example, films like Snuff (1976) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978) are sitting in my DVD collection right now (look them up). Though these films are far too poorly made to be considered “must-see” films, there is one 70’s trash representative on this list. In 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in the United States and has slowly developed one of the most loyal followings in cult-movie history. 

If you were to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a stand alone film, you would be forced to recognize and acknowledge its flaws. The film is super-sweet and fluffy with several meaningless episodes of hilarity. BUT it is also one of the most unforgettable pieces of cinematic pop-art in history. Richard O’Brian’s script is filled with wry humor and backwards sexuality, but the overall style of the film is an undoubted testament to the low budget.

But The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not a stand alone film, is it? Through a simple stroke of genius, the film was released to the midnight market and a national phenomenon was created. For decades now, Rocky has been celebrating his birthday in front of enormous crowds of cult-like fans. Most of these fans come dressed as their favorite character (assuming they come dressed in anything). They pay ungodly amounts of money to see a show that they, the audience, are actually putting on for themselves. For what is Rocky Horror without the derogatory remarks and the unabashed wasting of toilet paper?

The thing that makes Rocky Horror fun is that it puts people on an even playing field. Seeing a shadow cast of this film is like going to a convention where everyone is just like you. And if they are not from the start, they will be by the end of the "Time Warp." Men and women put their inhibitions to the side in order to enjoy one night a year (or every weekend for the most hardcore) of forbidden fruit. The overt sexual fantasies of the many outweigh the conventional prude as lingerie-clad men and women bounce and jiggle their way to Transylvania. The film, which is deemed important by this list, serves as nothing more than cherished background noise to the many flying freak flags in theatres all across the country.

The one memorable thing in The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the iconic and now celebrated performance by Tim Curry. He stars in the film as perverse transvestite scientist named Frank-N-Furter. Curry oozes both masculine and feminine sexuality to the point that people are given no choice but to believe his mythos. He is the God of sexuality and you are one of his followers. The most secure and masculine of men will find himself sneaking a peak of Tim Curry’s goodies. I’ll admit, I looked a few times. Its not bad.

On a list of all-time great films, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has no reason to be acknowledged. But, the 1077 Films to See Before You Die is not a list of great films. It is a list of films that recognizes the importance of a pop culture breakthrough. Few films will survive as long as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I recommend ignoring the home video and seeing the entire production. The film is outright average, but the experience is unforgettable.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: C

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